Bells rang on Labor Day to honor WWII Rosie the Riveters
By Jonnie Melillo Clasen, Merrill’s Marauders Liaison Officer /
World War II Rosie the Riveters were honored on Labor Day in the United States and Europe when individuals and organizations rang bells simultaneously at 1 p.m. EST.
“Ring a bell for Rosies” was initiated by an organization, Thanks! Plain and Simple, Inc., in West Virginia to draw national and international attention to the crucial work Rosie the Riveters did on the home front to help the United States and its Allies win the war.
In 1952, Queen Juliana of the Netherlands presented President Harry S. Truman with a silver bell to symbolize a tower of many-sized bells the United States would be receiving for their efforts in helping liberate Holland in WW II.
That tower of bells, the Netherlands Carillon, located in Arlington, Virginia, in view of the Washington and Lincoln Memorials, is one of many well-known locations where bells were rung at 1 p.m. on Labor Day.
Other famous locations included the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia and the National Liberation Museum in Groesbeek, Netherlands. WW II ships moored in San Francisco Bay, California, the Charlestown Navy Yard in Massachusetts and in London, England.
There were special and simple bell-ringing gatherings throughout the United States and Europe on Labor Day. At Fort Benning, the local “Baker’s Dozen” chapter of the American Rosie the Riveter Association had its oldest member, Jean Liporato, 97, from Columbus, ring a bell in front of the arch at the Ranger Memorial and also at the WW II Merrill’s Marauder monument located there.
During WW II, Liporato inspected 40 mm shells for weight specifications at Monroe Auto Equipment in Monroe, MI. Her husband, Phil, was a WW II, Korea and Vietnam veteran. A 1940s photo of the couple with the first of their four children sits on the orderly room desk at the barracks located on the National Infantry Museum’s WW II Street.
In November 2015, Liporato was one of 12 Rosie the Riveters from Georgia and Alabama and 14 WW II veterans honored at a “Rosie Social” held at the Benning Club. Two of the Rosie the Riveters were also WW II veterans.
The local “Baker’s Dozen” ARRA Chapter held the social to commemorate 2015 being the 70th anniversary of the end of WW II. Five of those honored that day have since died.
During the social, Fran Carter, a “Rosie” from Birmingham, AL., who started the national ARRA in 1998, was presented with a Columbus mayor’s proclamation honoring her for promoting the legacy of the WW II home front heroines. FDR’s Little White House in Warm Springs. GA, is the honorary headquarters of ARRA.
The late Carrie Pettit, the only Allied Rosie the Riveter in the “Baker’s Dozen ARRA Chapter, worked at three factories, the first of which was bombed, in Liverpool, England. She quit school at age 15 in 1939, the year England entered the war, to begin working in defense factories.
A Rosie the Riveter display will be set up Sept. 10 at FDR’s Little White House in Warm Springs to commemorate WW II Operation Market Garden in Europe. Bob Anzuoni, director of Ft. Gordon’s Signal Corps Museum, will present a paratrooper’s view of the airdrop. There will also be a WW II Merrill’s Marauder display. James Fowler, a FDR portrayer, will speak in the museum’s theater about the conditions of war.